the owners of horses to drive them east of this point. Then Major Benavides, when necessary, to fall back to Laredo and occupy it. Should the enemy move up the river, we would move on the short outer line, and make a stand there, or, if necessary, fall back to Eagle Pass. The first line of defense to be from Corpus [Christi] to Laredo; the second, from Eagle Pass to Saluria; if still forces back, then the Colorado.
Presuming that I occupy the first line, then pickets to be sent to the various ranches on this side of the desert where the main roads enter it; these pickets to be used in driving stock back and giving information of predatory movements of the thieves sent out to get beeves or horses for the enemy.
Constant and small scouts to be sent on the Laredo road, which will be for the next few weeks the main depot for cotton, as I ordered all cotton this side of the Nueces to that point so soon as I ascertained it was safe; all cotton from east of the Nueces to go to Eagle Pass.
Should my position be found untenable, Corpus [Christi] and Aransas would inevitably fall, then the second line, and if finally we give up the Rio Grade, but little cotton would fall into the hands of the enemy.
Every effort to be made to concentrate troops from the interior at this point. Continued weakness and necessary retreats will ultimately dishearten the few troops we have, and we should save men and horses for a decisive blow.
The Mexican troops and citizens require the moral support of an American force within striking distance of their homes.
In conclusion, I must earnestly urge the general to send me my old command, Buchel's and Woods' regiments. By a prompt and vigorous effort, I can annihilate Banks on this edge of the desert, or this country is lost.
I send a re-enforcement of one company to-morrow to Major Benavides.
H. P. BEE,
Brigadier-General, Provisional Army.
SAN ANTONIO, TEX.,
November 16, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel A. G. DICKINSON,
SIR: The undersigned citizens of this city and vicinity, some of us holding civil positions under the Confederate States and State government, and not yet in the army, but being determined to defend the State as far as possible by our services as soldiers, would be glad to be informed as to the intentions of the military commander as to the probability of offering resistance to the invader at this point or before he shall reach here. This request is made in order that we may, as far as possible, remove our families and dependencies to a place of greater security, or within the lines of the army.
The landing of the Yankees at Brownsville and the depredations along the Rio Grande admonish us that every man should now enter the service, and to enable us to do so early enough to resist the invader, we should at once make proper disposition of our families and those dependent on us.